By Jim Mitchell
The Oklahoma State University Diversity Hall of Fame has inducted seven new honorees and two Rising Star Award recipients.
The OSU Diversity Hall of Fame recognizes alumni and university supporters who have significantly contributed to the advancement of diversity and inclusion at Oklahoma State University and distinguished themselves in their particular field or profession and with the betterment of their communities.
“OSU is proud to honor these individuals whose legacies remain embedded in the fabric of the institution,” says Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, vice president and chief diversity officer for the OSU Division of Institutional Diversity.
The inductees, who were honored during the sold out Afro-Am Homecoming Gala at the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center Oct. 12, include:
Dr. Huey Jefferson Battle served in the U.S. Army Air Corps during World War II before returning to civilian life and graduating from Langston University in 1947. He received a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, and earned his doctorate in agricultural economics from OSU in 1954, the first African-American in Oklahoma to earn a doctoral degree. He had a distinguished 23-year career at Virginia State University.
Samuel Combs III is CEO and founding partner of COMSTAR Advisors, a consulting and private investment firm. He recently retired from ONEOK where he was president of ONEOK Distribution Companies with financial responsibilities for its natural gas distribution segment. His earlier positions included jobs with Oklahoma Natural Gas Company, a ONEOK subsidiary, as well as AT&T and Southwestern Bell.
A former OSU Regent, Dr. Claud Evans owns and practices at the Okfuskee County Veterinary Clinic in Okemah. He has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural biochemistry from Oklahoma State University and a doctorate in veterinary medicine from Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Prior to opening his practice 34 years ago, he worked in management with the Ralston Purina Co.
The support of OSU President Burns Hargis in advancing diversity and inclusion at OSU has been vital to the university’s progress and national recognition. Hargis has also guided OSU to record enrollment and fundraising since taking office in March 2008. He holds degrees in accounting and law and is the second OSU graduate to lead the university as president.
Brenda D. Neal is a senior vice-president of investments, and financial advisor in global wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in New York. She is also an arbitrator with oversight over securities firms that do business with the public and an activist for women and underserved minority youth with a focus on upgrading their education and job skills. Neal graduated from OSU and received a master’s degree from New York University.
Archie (Stevenson) Ransom graduated from OSU in 1958 with a degree in d nutrition and institutional management, which served her well as a dietitian and instructor in the Los Angeles area. After raising a family, she served as a dietary director in Denver. While Ransom remembers tense racial times on the OSU campus, she has dedicated her life to ensure that was not the reality for her children and grandchildren.
Despite a stellar academic and extracurricular record at Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, Lloyd Ransom was denied acceptance to the major universities in Oklahoma in 1952 and entered military service. Following desegregation, Ransom returned to Oklahoma and earned a chemistry degree from OSU in 1958, which led to a successful career as a chemist and chemical engineer in the aviation industry. Lloyd met his wife (and co-inductee), Archie, while attending OSU.
This year’s Rising Star Award winners are:
Dr. Krystal K. Beamon is an associate professor of sociology and faculty associate with the Center for African American Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she was recently named outstanding faculty member. She excelled at OSU in academics and was an All-American athlete in track and field. Beamon has authored books that reflect her research interests, including race and ethnicity, the sociology of sport and the contemporary African-American experience.
Andre I. Storey is the regional vice president of ancillary services at Christus St. Patrick Health System, a subsidiary of Christus Health. He has overseen hospital operations and joint ventures that support the organization’s mission in Lake Charles, La., since 2014. During a prior job for the health system, he founded the Greater Texarkana Young Professionals. He graduated from OSU with a degree in business administration and earned a master’s degree in health care administration from Trinity University.
For more information about the Division of Institutional Diversity at OSU, as well as related activities and departments, visit diversity.okstate.edu/.